By AVA LIVERSIDGE
King Krule’s 2011 debut placed him, with his taciturn demeanor and waifish frame, as an unlikely contender for a bold new punk star. Though, the seeds were being sown. On a new live LP, You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down, we become privy to cuts across his discography in a vivid, metamorphosed light. The set-list was compiled from live shows across the Man Alive! era and showcases Archy Marshall’s usual: nonplussed, brooding tenderness.
The record is accompanied by a thirty-minute film retrospecting the visual performances that were plucked for the live record. All of the guttural cries and starkness of the LP’s sound resolves itself when the performances’ true debauchery is put on display. Live, King Krule occupies the narrow space between conducting an illusory jam session and a riotous underground spectacle.
In a public statement about the record, Marshall is cryptic: “Once split into cheap 4-tracks and pirate software, now colossus energy redeemed into small diaphragms.” His meaning is veiled, but Marshall seems to be discussing not only King Krule’s evolution as musician and artist, but also the particular intimacy of a live setting– the bare-all relinquishment that he exhibits from the lead single, “Stoned Again.” You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down was debuted with a screech, a snarl, and a jazz ensemble of five.
Marshall and band are free to explore all of the grittiness and experimentalism and gentleness that King Krule has tapped into with much liberty and all at once when playing live. They’re leaning into the wide swath of influences that have always bolstered Marshall’s creative work and forcing them to inter-play in a way that is almost physically striking– hip hop cadences with punk voicings and a brass section drowning in reverb coalesce into something of a post-punk reverie.
Archy Marshall is all equipped with the sweetness of a singer-songwriter and the grittiness of a guitar-smashing punk star and the musical acumen of a jazz experimentalist. For all of the beachy, alternative pop that marked much of his musical debut, what is witnessed on You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down must be alchemy. Fan favorite and staple “Baby Blue” unravels into a desperate monologue, followed by an instrumental digression helmed by saxophonist Ignacio “Galgo” Salvadores. Marshall’s trademark anger ebbs and flows throughout the set, just as it traverses his discography; he can fill venues with lush celestial sound by drenching guitar tones and synths in reverb, just to slice through the air with his electric spitefulness.
All of King Krule’s propensities are displayed in their contradicting, disparate glory on You Heat Me Up, You Cool Me Down, but his steadfastness to soul and intrigue shuttle the sound towards unification. Archy Marshall is a captivating force in music today, as he was when his snarl and starkness first took to the stage.